CHENNAI: Even as Chandrayaan-2 mission scientists are racing against time to re-establish communication link with Vikram lander that crashed on lunar surface, thousands of senior staff members, including scientists and engineers, at Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have suffered pay cuts with the Central government deciding to discontinue 'additional' increments. This reportedly is causing discontent across the ranks of the country's space research organisation.
As per an Office Memorandum (OM) dated June 12, undersigned by Deputy Secretary to Department of Space M Ramadas, the two additional increments given to scientists/engineers of grade SD, SE, SF and SG are discontinued with effect from July 1, 2019.
The memorandum, a copy of which is available with Express, says, "consequent to implementation of 6th Central Pay Commission recommendation and introduction of Performance Related Incentive Scheme (PRIS) up to 40 per cent of basic pay for scientific and technical personnel in Department of Space (DoS), Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure has advised DoS to discontinue the incentive granted in the form of two additional increments to scientists/engineers - SD, SE, SF and SG grade personnel."
In 1996, Centre has approved grant of two additional increments for SD to SG grade personnel in Department of Space in the pre-revised pay scale of Rs 10,000-15,200, Rs 12,000-16,500, Rs 14,300 18,300 and Rs 16,400-20,000. "However, in the light of the advice of the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, it has been decided to discontinue the payment of incentive granted with effect from July 1, 2019," the memorandum reads.
When contacted, K Santhosh Kumar, general secretary of Space Engineers Association (SEA) refused to comment and said "it was an internal matter." However, SEA has submitted a representation to ISRO Chairman K Sivan seeking his intervention to persuade Central government to roll back the decision. "The PRIS offered to the engineers and the additional increments are entirely different. One is an incentive and other is pay and hence they can not supplement each other," the association president A Manimaran said in the letter.
A senior scientist told Express that by virtue of the memorandum the employees have suffered a pay cut of Rs 10,000 per month on an average.